Will discuss EPF interest rate issue with finance minister: Bandaru Dattatreya

Trade unions will go on a protest on Friday to oppose the finance ministry’s decision to ratify 8.7% Employees’ Provident Fund interest rate for 2015-16

Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: A day before a nation-wide protest by trade unions against lowering of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) interest rate, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Thursday said he will discuss the issue with finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Trade unions will go on a day-long protest on Friday to oppose the finance ministry’s decision to ratify 8.7% EPF interest rate for 2015-16, which is lower than 8.8% decided by the retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO).

“My ministry is examining and shortly we are going to have a sitting with the finance minister. Then we will have a dialogue and see that what solution can come out,” Dattatreya told reporters at an industry event.

The minister further said, “Now in this situation, I asked my Central Provident Fund Commissioner to get all the reports. Last year we have given 8.75%. So as chairman of the CBT taking a consensus view CBT has taken a decision of giving 8.8%. It has been forwarded to finance ministry.”

Asked why was finance ministry not considering labour ministry’s opinion, he said: “Finance is an advisory one. It will ultimately be the government of India. My ministry and I as Central Board of Trustees (CBT) chairman are also part of the government... will sit together and see that the problem will be solved.”

On alleged interference of the finance ministry in the working of the EPFO, he said, “No no, ultimately it is (just) advice of the finance ministry... finance ministry is not entangled in this issue. The thing is that they are advising because interest rates are coming down.”